College students are one of the targets for this assault on voting rights. Efforts to curb student voting started in 1971 when 18-year-olds first got the right to vote and has continued ever since even though, for 34 years, students have, thanks to the federal appeals court decision in Symm v. U.S. had the right to vote in the communities where they attend school. North Carolina isn't alone among the states that have played various the angles to get around this. Among the methods has been the official spread of false information and scare tactics to keep students from the polls.
Under the new state law passed in the wake of the Supreme Court's gutting of a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, officials in North Carolina are now moving to undermine the student vote. You can bet that other states are watching to see how this goes.
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For instance, the Watauga County election board has decided to eliminate an election precinct and early voting site on the campus of Appalachian State University. The board in Pasquotank County has nixed a student at Elizabeth City State University from running for city council. The argument: The student's on-campus address means he is not a legal resident and thus cannot seek public office. And then there's this:
The Republican chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Elections, citing what he views as voting irregularities, said he will try to eliminate the Anderson Center at the historically black Winston-Salem State University as a site for early voting. [...]Bob Hall, the executive director of the elections watchdog group Democracy N.C., agrees that it would be improper if a professor promised to give credit to students for voting but not for writing an essay about their voting experience or whether students (or anyone) should bother voting. But the alleged talk about getting credit has not been confirmed and Republicans have sought to close down the Anderson Center site ever since it opened in 2008.
Fueling Raymond’s concerns, he said, are comments that he heard as an elections precinct judge in 2010. WSSU students, openly talking, said they were casting ballots for credit in a class, according to Raymond, a situation he described as illegal.
Citing N.C. General Statute 163-275, subsection 2, which says that it is unlawful for “any person to give or promise or request or accept at any time, before or after any such primary or election, any money, property or other thing of value whatsoever in return for the vote of any elector,” Raymond said the Anderson Center should not be used anymore.
Hall said, “I think it is unfortunate and disappointing that there is a pattern of looking at colleges, and black colleges, that the Republican leadership is targeting certain groups.”
The Winston-Salem Journal quoted Susan Campbell, the chairwoman of the Forsyth County Democratic Party, as mocking the Republican effort. “It is shocking. And it’s done with such arrogance—now we’re in charge—we’re going to put up barriers.” She said that if the site is eliminated, the party will make every effort to ensure that students get a chance to register and vote elsewhere in the county.